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Mobilizing the emergence of Phronetic TechnoScienceSocieties: low-carbon e-mobility in China

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Publication date2/07/2020
Host publicationSociology of the Sciences Yearbook
Number of pages24
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameSociology of the Sciences Yearbook
ISSN (Print)0167-2320


TechnoScienceSociety (TSS) spells the wholesale reorganization of the constellation of related concepts that together make up the very common-sense meaning of ‘politics’ and ‘government’, not least of which today are knowledge, science, technology and society, all of which are currently founded on essentially literal, dualistic not pragmatic, processual grounds. We argue that grappling with TSS and a politics of TSS demands a shift broadly from a universalist (if possibly critical) epistemo-politics of critique or criticism to an onto-politics of situated practical wisdom (phronesis).

Important pointers in this direction come from existing work in actor network theory (ANT)-inspired STS. But while useful starting points, this work is also insufficient in some key regards, to the point that we must now move beyond it. In particular, the need for a shift to a situated, processual and practically engaged perspective applies no less to discussions such as this in STS. We here trace out some of the argument for, and consequences of, that move.

The argument proceeds as follows. First we consider the after-ANT argument of ontological politics and how this demands a break with the familiar epistemological and ‘one world’ politics still dominating contemporary discourse, mainstream and critical. Then we consider some of the key problems with this conception of ontological politics vis-à-vis the predicament of an emerging TSS. This includes a brief discussion of an alternative perspective, of complex power/knowledge systems (CP/KS) within a phronetic onto-politics. Finally, we illustrate the arguments by analysing, using this CP/KS and onto-political perspective, a key case study of contemporary TSS: the ongoing attempts of innovation towards a transition in urban mobility system in China.

Bibliographic note

The final publication is available at Springer via https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-43965-1_13